Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: Hugh Manatee ()
Date: March 18, 2008 12:48AM

I know that threads on Eckhart Tolle have previously been written. As a "recovering" "NOW-ist" I would like to discuss my aversion to his "teachings"....the self induced schizophrenia of "advaita" or non dualism.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2008 04:52AM by rrmoderator.

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 21, 2008 10:54PM

Agehananda Bharati, an Austrian born scholar who later become both a Hindu monk and a professor of philosophy and anthropology actually studied nondualism, both personally, for he had experienced what he termed 'zero-states' and interviewed many others who had experienced these states.

He had also studied the genuine advaita philosophies, and did this in the 1940s and 1950s, before watered down varieties became commercialized and peddled to mass audiences.

Bharati loved Hinduism but he also stated clearly that there were potential pitfalls.

One, in this interview in 1981, Bharati spok with an interviewer, designated here as U:

U: What about "eastern mysticism" - do you find that offensive?

Bharati: Quite offensive. I call that "drifting into eastern wisdom chatter." When people stop thinking in grammatical terms, you get into this eastern mysticism drivel. I find that very difficult to stomach. I don’t think eastern mysticism is very attractive. But I think it’s of psycho-experimental importance, it’s one of those things that you can do to skim confidently over your problems, which I find very helpful.

*(Note his comment 'it is one of thoes things you can do to skim confidentialy over your problems, which I find very helpful')

U: Your term "psycho-experimental" that’s also a very western term.

Bharati: Yes, it’s an etic (scholar’s) term. It’s a difference between the statement of the texts and my critique of them.

U: You are an initiate of an advaitic school, but you don’t really care for advaitic philosophy, as you have said. Why?

Bharati: I think, first of all, it doesn’t really generate a sense of humor. It’s also very dry, and the trouble is, the great pieces of Indian art and music were composed in spite of monism, not because of it. But monism is a good, solid guideline for the kind of meditation I enjoy. But I think it’s drudgery, I think it’s very bad philosophy.

U: In what way?

**Bharati: For me, philosophy is to solve problems. In monism, there are no problems. The problems (that remain in monism) are of a linguistic sort.

U: Could you give us a one-sentence or one paragraph summary of your own summum bonum?

Bharati: My own personal philosophy? I think that the modern mind has to work on several levels. At one time I called it syncretistic parallelism. By that I mean that you live the religious life by whatever form of meditation, which is purely private and not communicable, and you lead whatever social and active life you choose. The two don’t meet, even schedule-wise, because you do them at different times of the day.

' I enjoy the meditation, but I think if you try to make a bridge between the meditation and the philosophy, you’re in great trouble, because it bars you from doing good philosophy.

I follow Nagarjuna, the Brahmin who converted to Buddhism in the 2nd century, who said, "I do my meditation, which is Buddhist, but for the rest of it, I enjoy dismantling people’s arguments." This is what I call "parson skinning." Part if his philosophy was that he hated the ministers, therefore he developed a very strong dialectical way of doing away with these arguments. I find this enjoyable too. This means also Hindu and Buddhist parsons, incidentally.

'......the Hindus and Buddhists don’t make so many ontological claims - How can you fight something which you don’t even claim is there?


I recommend that you get a copy of Bharati's book, The Light at the Center: Context and Pretext of Modern Mysticism. Bharati states that nondual realization is a matter of private pleasure. It does nothing to make one a better person, and it does nothing to solve the problems of society. He even stated clearly that if someone is a stinker before nondual realization, he or she will remain a stinker afterwards--unless that person uses other methods to remedy character defects.

Years ago, someone wrote this concerning her dealing with Tibetan Buddhism.

The website no longer exists but her comments are interesting.

"To me missing aspects of what spiritual teachers discuss are EMOTIONS and healthy relationships with day to day reality or important people in one's life. Head nods are given to keeping some order in one's life, like cleaning one's personal space but that seems to me as if life is supposed to be lived pretty much ROBOTICALLY and the 'really important part' of life is sitting on the meditation cushion contemplating suffering or zoning out into 'enlightenment'.

When attending the Richen Ter Dzo wangs in Clement Town in 1979 I met Teacher X

He joked frequently that what he liked about dzogchen (a nondual practice) was that when life got to be difficult he could just press the dzogchen button and nothing would mean anything painful any more. When in doubt just zone out, sort of thing.

It aggravated me that he advocated side-stepping facing reality, facing moral or emotional challenges or dealing with emotional ambivalence. It seemed to me grotesquely morally slippery and emotionally dangerous.

**(One is not supposed to be taught dzogchen until one has had years of practice and has taken the Buddhist ethical vows and demonstrated compassion as well as wisdom and care for all beings. Someone at this level is not going to go around avoiding pain or personal inconvenience. But the problem is a lot of people who want the easy way out have learned this nondual techniques and its correct to call them on it when they misuse this as a tranquillizer)
It's true he was a young whipper-snapper then, he might be a plain old raging narcissist now or a more mature adult. I don't really know. But he seemed to have gotten his ideas from his TB teachers, so I wonder how sane he could be when all around him has been moral slipperiness.

"Emotions seem to be something denigrated by all these people who are into the enlightenment thing. Either emotions are overlooked because of dazzling intellectual prowess or something to transcend or to transform into non-emotional awareness states. Emotions seem to me to be the core of what is perceived to be bad about samsara and that is where I think these spiritual teachers have proven to be the most disturbed, emotionally.

"There is also an entitlement issue going on it seems. There are those who opt out of samsara and then there are supposed to be the drones, like the serfs in Tibet, who are supposed to pay for and caretake those who zone out of ordinary, practical life.

J"une Campbell talks about the history of the thinking process as valuing so-called facts and not valuing emotional reality because emotions have historically been relegated to being merely female.

"I do think that people who go into 'enlightenment' states, non-dual states or bliss states need to have both healthy emotional lives and practical lives and that enlightenment states would otherwise be unhealthy and dangerous to the person who experiences that and to the people around who might be put in the position of caretaking a 'reality-handicapped' individual.

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 22, 2008 01:53AM

Additional items worth reading



and yet another version of this evasion trick--someone has termed
it, 'playing the three cards.'


(quote) They play three very simple cards, which can not, NO MATTER WHAT, be trumped. What's remarkable is that Wilber and his groupies now play those same exact three cards, which are:

(1) The Higher Level Card (i.e. Sorry, it's just over your head). Sorry, but you're just not smart enough to realize I am smarter than you, because you're on a lower (less divine) level.

(2) The Projection Card (i.e., I know you are, but what am I). By criticizing me, you are really just criticizing yourself, because any problem you see in me is just a projection of a problem in yourself.

(3) The Skillful Means Card (i.e., it's all your own fault, dickhead). The most potent card of all! It's not abuse; it's not pathetic or ridiculous or wrong; it's a crazy-wise teaching. You know, like Zen stuff. So when I call you a dickhead, it's not because I'm a dickhead, it's because you have a dickhead-complex that you need to evolve past, and I'm here to help you see that.

Note that these cards are not designed in any way, shape or form to prompt a discussion or dialogue. What can one possibly say to any of these cards? Nothing…and that is exactly the point. They are designed to end all discussion, and they are used only when folks know the actual substance of their beliefs has run, or is running, dry. (unquote)

C notes:

In other words, these 'cards' are used to create a situation where actual problem solving, critical thinking and good philsophizing, as described--and cherished--by Agehananda Bharati---cannot be done.

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: rob ()
Date: April 22, 2008 05:21AM

Hey corboy,
I find your posting very refreshing and totally agree with you. Makes me think of that chapiter in the book 'afterzen' by Van de wetering, where some 200 monks zen monks come out of their monestary to a conference in the US and totally freak out because something went wrong with the hotelroom reservations. First time dealing with life and enlightenment is gone.

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: Hugh Manatee ()
Date: April 22, 2008 08:59PM

to me "non dual" is already a contradiction in terms. personally, it offers no workable paradigm. granted, where do "I" stop, and the rest of the universe begin? of course there's an undeniable connectivity. yet, am I a photon? or am I the probability fog of the nuclear kingdom? am I the pairing of the atomic kingdom, or the inert molecules that they form? am I plant? am I animal? no I AM THE DIVINE I AM!!! well, that's what Tolle is saying. I guess that's what these teachers of non-dualism are trying to convey that "you ARE all that, and a bag of particles too" :)

Let me quote Tolle:

"if evil has any reality - and it has a relative, not an absolute, reality - this is also its definition: COMPLETE IDENTIFICATION WITH FORM - physical forms, thought forms, emotional forms." (emphasis mine)

wait a minute here....the "relative" is thrown in as a vague connection to Einstein to establish some sort of scientific basis to what he has just said. most people take Einstein's "relativity theory" as a given, even if they haven't made an attempt to understand it. and even Einstein's "relativity" has been discredited somewhat by Arthur M. Young who has demonstrated that rotation is the "neglected invariant". and Einstein did not factor rotation into his theory, he took Euclidean flatspace and "bent it", providing TONS of convoluted equations. the greatest success of relativity theory has been the invariance of the speed of light. (stand up and make a 360 degree turn....and now sit down. if everything is "relative", could we say that the universe has spun around you? NO! because of the invariance of the speed of light, distant and NOT SO distant stars would have to exceed the speed of light to accomplish that. ROTATION is absolute, NOT relative)

Back to Tolle now. identification with form is the relative evil!?!? and Oprah Winfrey is his vehicle for spreading the word! Winfrey publishes a magazine EVERY month, and SHE is the one who is ALWAYS on the cover, the BIG "O"!! :)

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: Hugh Manatee ()
Date: April 22, 2008 10:24PM

also, I can't believe the wait time to get a post up. I posted something in this thread over 1.5 hrs ago. still be reviewed. TOO nslow for me folks. I'm out. take care.

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: April 22, 2008 11:05PM

Hugh Manatee:

You now have autoapprove, which means your posts should come up instantly.

Sorry, but we have had some trolls and flamers here.

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: Hugh Manatee ()
Date: April 23, 2008 03:36AM

Hugh Manatee:

You now have autoapprove, which means your posts should come up instantly.

Sorry, but we have had some trolls and flamers here.

okay, thanks!

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: Hugh Manatee ()
Date: April 23, 2008 03:48AM

perhaps, I go to far in my previous posts. what does it really matter? Oprah speaks!! People buy! YES, they do. I speak to local book retailers and they tell me that "A New Earth" by Tolle has been leaping off the shelves ever since she started endorsing it.So, who's the hand waving "cult" leader? Then again, I haven't owned a TV in over twenty years and I live alone. Most people accept, but do not understand why I don't own a TV. To most people a TV is as essential as a toilet. Some think that I belong to some fringe group that forbids television, which is not the case at all.

As James B. Twitchell said in "Carnival Culture - The Trashing of Taste in America"

"American TV is a medium who's input is so profound and so resolutely banal that it has single-handedly removed vulgarity by making it the norm."

But all this "non dualism" stuff? c'mon... although, Tolle isn't as bad as an author named Tony Parsons. Tolle can go on at length about "non-resistance" and "to resist what IS, is to suffer." I can't help but see another agenda at work here. DON'T think, DON'T resist! Stalin would have loved this stuff!!

Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: csp ()
Date: April 24, 2008 12:10AM

I do agree with you about the "dangers" of television. Read "Culture Jam" or "Four Arguments Against the Use of Television" which are both classics on this subject.

However, I couldn't disagree more about your assessment regarding Tolle. As a matter of fact, I think he would firmly support your position regarding television. I've seen him speak on the subject and warn people of its negative effect on the mind and freedom.

Also, his "non-resistance" is in no way related to relinquishing freedom or not making choices or decisions. He has given many examples of how "non-conflict" does mean accepting mistreatment, dictatorship, etc. but only means that you do not "identify" yourself with your thoughts or mind. He would say that identifying yourself with your thoughts or mind is exactly the reason why you could become susceptible to an outer authority, brainwashing, acceptance of vulgarity as the norm, etc. I think Tolle is on your side. :-)

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